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West Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The San Francisco Giants captured their first N.L. West title in 16 years in 1987, finishing the regular season with a record of 90-72, six games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds, who placed second in the division for the third straight time.  The Giants and Reds were very evenly matched on offense, finishing relatively close in most statistical categories.  The two teams finished tied for third in the league with 783 runs scored.  The Giants placed second in the senior circuit with 205 home runs, while the Reds finished third with 192 round-trippers.  Cincinnati held its biggest edge in stolen bases (169 to 126) and in batting average (.266 to .260).  The Reds also had one of the finest all-around players in the league in Eric Davis.  Despite appearing in only 129 games, the speedy centerfielder batted .293 and placed among the league leaders with 37 home runs, 100 runs batted in, 120 runs scored, and 50 stolen bases.

However, the Giants had superior pitching to the Reds, enabling them to come away with the Western Division title.  While Cincinnati finished ninth in the league with a 4.24 team ERA, San Francisco led the circuit with a team mark of 3.68.  Although no one in the Giants’ starting rotation posted more than 13 victories, its members formed a solid unit.  Mike LaCoss and Kelly Downs headed the rotation, combining to win a total of 25 games.  Scott Garrelts anchored the bullpen, saving 12 games, winning 11 others, and striking out 127 batters in 106 innings of work.

The Giants also had a rising star on offense in 23-year-old first baseman Will Clark.  In just his second full season, Clark led the team with 35 home runs, 91 runs batted in, 89 runs scored, and a .308 batting average.    

The numbers Clark compiled for the Giants paled by comparison, though, to the figures Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy posted for their respective teams.  Murphy’s Braves finished fifth in the N.L. West, 20 ½ games behind the first-place Giants.  Meanwhile, Gwynn’s Padres came in last in the division, 25 games off the pace.  Nevertheless, Murphy and Gwynn were the division’s top two players over the course of the season.  Murphy hit 45 home runs, knocked in 105 runs, scored 115 others, and batted .295.  Gwynn topped the circuit with a .370 batting average and 218 hits, and he also placed among the leaders with 119 runs scored, 56 stolen bases, 13 triples, and a .450 on-base percentage.    

Still, most of the excitement generated in the National League in 1987 came out of the East, where the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets battled it out for the division title for the second time in three years.  This time, though, the Montreal Expos joined them, making it a three-team race that lasted until the season’s final days.  The Cardinals prevailed in the end, concluding the campaign with a record of 95-67 that left them three games ahead of the second-place Mets, and only four games in front of the third-place Expos.

The Montreal lineup featured two of the league’s most productive offensive players.  Third baseman Tim Wallach hit 26 home runs, knocked in 123 runs, batted .298, and topped the circuit with 42 doubles.  Left-fielder Tim Raines led the league with 123 runs scored and also placed among the leaders with a .330 batting average, a .431 on-base percentage, and 50 stolen bases.  

Mike Schmidt and Juan Samuel also had big years for the Phillies, who finished fourth in the division, 15 games off the pace.  Schmidt hit 35 home runs, drove in 113 runs, and batted .293.  Although Samuel struggled somewhat defensively at second base, he posted huge offensive numbers, finishing the campaign with 28 homers, 100 runs batted in, 113 runs scored, 37 doubles, 35 stolen bases, and a league-leading 15 triples.  

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Andre Dawson earned N.L. MVP honors even though his team finished last in the division, 18 ½ games behind the first-place Cardinals.  Dawson finished the year with a .287 batting average, 90 runs scored, and a league-leading 47 homers, 137 runs batted in, and 353 total bases.

Although neither the Mets’ nor the Cardinals’ lineup featured anyone with numbers quite so impressive, they were the division’s most well-balanced teams, placing near the top of the league rankings in both runs scored and runs allowed.  Keith Hernandez, Kevin McReynolds, Howard Johnson, and Darryl Strawberry paced the Mets on offense.  Hernandez hit 18 homers, drove in 89 runs, and batted .290.  McReynolds hit 29 home runs, knocked in 95 runs, and scored 86 others.  Johnson hit 36 homers, stole 32 bases, drove in 99 runs, and scored 93 others.  Strawberry joined Johnson as a member of the 30-30 club by leading the team with 39 homers and 36 stolen bases.  He also batted .284 and led the club with 104 runs batted in and 108 runs scored.  Dwight Gooden served as the ace of New York’s pitching staff, leading the team with 15 victories and a 3.21 ERA.

The Cardinals edged out the Mets for the division title on the strength of their good pitching, solid defense, and exceptional team speed.  The St. Louis lineup had little in the way of power, finishing last in the N.L. with only 94 home runs.  However, the Cardinals topped the senior circuit with 248 stolen bases, and they finished a close second to the Mets with 798 runs scored.  Vince Coleman batted .289, scored 121 runs, and led the league with 109 stolen bases.  Willie McGee batted .285 and knocked in 105 runs.  Ozzie Smith scored 104 runs, batted .303, stole 43 bases, and performed his usual wizardry at shortstop.  Terry Pendleton knocked in 96 runs and batted .286.  Jack Clark served as the team’s only true power threat, batting .286, hitting 35 home runs, knocking in 106 runs, scoring 93 others, and leading the league with a .459 on-base percentage and a .597 slugging percentage despite missing 31 games due to injury.

Even though the Cardinals entered the NLCS as heavy favorites to defeat the Giants, they struggled to get past the Western Division champions, needing victories in Game Six and Game Seven to advance to the World Series.  San Francisco outfielder Jeffrey Leonard earned NLCS MVP honors in defeat by batting .417, hitting four home runs, and driving in five runs.

The Cardinals subsequently proved to be vastly superior to the Minnesota Twins whenever the two teams met in St. Louis in the World Series.  However, the Twins benefited from the fact that they hosted four of the seven contests in the deafening Metrodome, which gave them an enormous home field advantage.  Winning all four games played in Minnesota, the Twins registered the franchise’s first World Series triumph since the Washington Senators won in 1924.    

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 17 - Mike Schmidt hit the 500th home run of his career during an 8-6 Philadelphia victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

• Philadelphia’s Steve Bedrosian captured N.L. Cy Young honors by compiling a 2.83 ERA, appearing in 65 games, and leading the league with 40 saves.

• San Diego’s Benito Santiago earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors, establishing a new rookie record along the way by hitting safely in 34 straight games.

• By stealing 109 bases, Vince Coleman became the only player ever to surpass 100 steals in three straight years.

• The National League won the All-Star Game 2-0 in Oakland in 13 innings.

• Dodgers coach Don McMahon died of a heart attack after pitching batting practice.

• Dodgers executive Al Campanis lost his job after he stated on national television that blacks don't have the necessary skills to perform in baseball management positions.

• Nelson Doubleday Jr. and his partners purchased the Mets for $100 million dollars.

• Although he finished the year with a record of only 8-16, Nolan Ryan led the National League with a 2.76 ERA and 270 strikeouts.

• Pitching for last-place Chicago, Rick Sutcliffe led all N.L. hurlers with 18 wins.

• Dodger pitchers Orel Hershiser, Bob Welch, and Fernando Valenzuela finished first, second, and third in the league in innings pitched.  Hershiser topped the circuit with 265 innings.

Seasons of the National League

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Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 2081 5428 747 1401 696 .162 284 24 152 135 68 2189 .295 .238 .579 133 34 86
CHN 2270 5583 720 1475 683 .246 244 33 209 109 48 2412 .355 .342 .742 109 30 59
CIN 2264 5560 783 1478 747 .191 262 29 192 169 46 2374 .285 .288 .611 129 34 57
HOU 2216 5485 648 1386 603 .170 238 28 122 162 46 2046 .330 .229 .614 115 50 58
LAN 2310 5517 635 1389 594 .207 236 23 125 128 59 2046 .296 .277 .595 126 39 82
MON 2186 5527 741 1467 695 .154 310 39 120 166 74 2215 .300 .216 .572 100 42 57
NYN 2142 5601 823 1499 771 .196 287 34 192 159 49 2430 .378 .278 .688 94 39 70
PHI 2291 5475 702 1390 662 .168 248 51 169 111 49 2247 .329 .253 .641 133 40 63
PIT 2198 5536 723 1464 684 .223 282 45 131 140 58 2229 .340 .314 .676 121 51 71
SDN 2218 5456 668 1419 621 .179 209 48 113 198 91 2063 .284 .241 .564 122 36 81
SFN 2295 5608 783 1458 731 .184 274 32 205 126 97 2411 .282 .303 .623 99 35 55
SLN 2209 5500 798 1449 746 .211 252 49 94 248 72 2081 .326 .307 .680 126 51 84

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 485 69 92 1427 837 587 6270 1529 163 111.260 735 829 16 4 32 42 9
CHN 488 76 85 1434 1024 628 6311 1524 159 73.400 727 801 11 4 48 58 29
CIN 554 84 78 1453 919 485 6188 1486 170 86.430 685 752 7 2 44 33 13
HOU 478 76 86 1444 1137 525 6114 1363 141 75.110 616 678 13 4 33 39 14
LAN 443 73 89 1454 1097 565 6238 1415 130 65.850 601 675 29 7 32 54 18
MON 497 91 71 1449 1012 446 6151 1428 145 122.830 632 720 16 6 50 47 14
NYN 470 92 70 1455 1032 510 6191 1407 135 71.030 621 698 16 5 51 42 13
PHI 551 80 82 1450 877 587 6265 1453 167 107.970 673 749 13 5 48 35 23
PIT 475 80 82 1444 914 562 6131 1377 164 102.760 674 744 25 10 39 61 18
SDN 497 65 97 1432 897 602 6206 1402 175 94.110 681 763 14 6 33 55 21
SFN 510 90 72 1470 1038 547 6202 1407 146 73.630 604 669 19 8 38 59 25
SLN 524 95 67 1466 873 533 6254 1484 129 94.870 641 693 10 4 48 46 22

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2410 7355 5274 1950 131 .976 17132 185 57 0 11
CHN 2682 7203 5243 1817 143 .968 17214 169 69 0 13
CIN 2584 7353 5520 1677 156 .966 17427 139 75 0 13
HOU 2543 7090 5300 1658 132 .964 17299 199 54 0 11
LAN 2683 7272 5271 1819 182 .965 17457 120 65 0 8
MON 2629 7278 5403 1710 165 .957 17402 202 46 0 8
NYN 2582 7378 5398 1819 161 .955 17450 161 57 0 9
PHI 2719 7345 5452 1750 143 .958 17381 184 63 0 17
PIT 2590 7384 5375 1869 140 .970 17338 134 84 0 9
SDN 2699 7334 5334 1831 169 .964 17199 126 51 0 22
SFN 2721 7407 5369 1887 151 .964 17654 132 87 0 15
SLN 2698 7545 5497 1906 142 .979 17593 100 49 1.00 16

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
San Francisco Giants 90 72 1917168 1 1038
Cincinnati Reds 84 78 2185205 2 919
Houston Astros 76 86 1909902 3 1137
Los Angeles Dodgers 73 89 2797409 4 1097
Atlanta Braves 69 92 1217402 5 837
San Diego Padres 65 97 1454061 6 897

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 95 67 3072122 1 873
New York Mets 92 70 3034129 2 1032
Montreal Expos 91 71 1850324 3 1012
Pittsburg Pirates 80 82 1161193 4 914
Philadelphia Philies 80 82 2100110 4 877
Chicago Cubs 76 85 2035130 6 1024

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Tagged:
1987 NLCS, 1987 World Series, Al Campanis, Andre Dawson, Benito Santiago, Bob Welch, Dale Murphy, Darryl Strawberry, Don McMahon, Dwight Gooden, Eric Davis, Fernando Valenzuela, Howard Johnson, Jack Clark, Jeffrey Leonard, John Tudor, Juan Samuel, Keith Hernandez, Kelly Downs, Kevin McReynolds, Mike LaCoss, Mike Schmidt, Nelson Doubleday, Nolan Ryan, Orel Hershiser, Ozzie Smith, Rick Sutcliffe, San Francisco Giants, Scott Garrelts, St. Louis Cardinals, Steve Bedrosian, Terry Pendleton, Tim Raines, Tim Wallach, Tony Gwynn, Vince Coleman, Will Clark, Willie McGee

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